Finding a lawyer is always a difficult journey, as many do not know where to start. Typically, people would start their search at their state’s bar association. However, the Tennessee Bar Association does not offer any assistance in finding a lawyer. There are however many other legal aid services in Tennessee that will provide legal assistance if you cannot find or afford a lawyer.

There are also other forums and legal aid services such as the TN Free Legal Answers forum that connects you with local Tennessee lawyers. This online system screens potential clients for eligibility and you are qualified, you to post a legal question to a private messaging system. The questions are answered by private attorneys volunteering their time.

A TN Free Legal Answers client also has the ability to check the system for answers at any time. Only the name of the client is shared with the volunteer attorney assisting them and nothing else is shared. Lawyers have the ability to log into TN Free Legal Answers 24 hours a day and answer questions from users at a time.

What is the American Bar Association?

The American Bar Association (ABA) can direct you to the right place to begin your search. The ABA's website includes contact information for three local bar associations in Tennessee that offer attorney referral services: Nashville, Chattanooga, and Knoxville Bar Associations.

These bar associations offer lawyer referrals both within their areas and in nearby counties as well. The referrals are free, and you can contact the services by telephone (additionally, the Knoxville Bar also offers an online form).

What are Local Counties’ Bar Services?

In addition to providing lawyer referrals, these counties offer additional free legal help.

Nashville Bar maintains a "Dial-A-Lawyer" program, where one day a month you can call and receive basic legal advice for free.

The Knoxville Bar offers "Lawline Online." Here, you can e-mail a basic legal question, and you will receive an answer within 24 hours. This is a good place to start if you are not sure if you need a lawyer, since there might be a government agency that can assist you with your problem.

What are Other Ways to Get Legal Aid in Tennessee?

If you are unable to afford legal help then there are several legal aid services available in Tennessee, all which have been backed and approved by the Tennessee Bar Association. These different services offer help to those who meet certain criteria, typically they require that the individual(s):

  • Belong to a certain group of people;
    • Like veterans, elderly, immigrants, etc.
  • Live in a certain region; and/or
    • Different legal aid groups offer services to specific regions in order to provide the most effective help.
  • Are low-income.

Of course, each legal aid group has their unique requirements for what types of individuals/families they will help. Certain groups will only help those with disabilities, and will only offer help for issues with discrimination or quality of life. They would not help an individual with a disability in a divorce proceeding, as it is not an issue that will impact those with disabilities but can impact any married person.

The legal aid groups don’t always offer direct legal representation, meaning they won’t always help you in court. But they can help you understand the paperwork and file them correctly. They can also help you apply for food stamps, deal with landlords, navigate Medicare, and help those in domestic violence situations.

It’s also important to remember that while you may not pay for the services of the lawyer/paralegal, you may have to pay for court fees, document fees, and any other fees that may come about in the process of filing a claim and/or litigating. While they are not as high as paying the full fee for an attorney, they can add up into the thousands depending on how long the process takes.

It is very rare to have all of your legal fees be waived and completely free. So while the Legal Aid/Services groups in Tennessee can offer significant amount of help at a fraction of the cost, be prepared to pay at least some portion of the legal process.

How Can LegalMatch Help Find a Lawyer?

There are also private services such as LegalMatch are located online, and can easily be found with a quick search. Most of them prescreen their lawyers, offer multiple lawyer referrals, and include information about the lawyers they are referring.

At LegalMatch, you can post your case to a lawyer for free online within minutes. LegalMatch's free online legal matching works in a 3-step process, which is easy to complete, highly effective and protects your privacy. The absolute latest in technology enables you to confidentially find the right lawyer for you. Once you submit your case to LegalMatch, a matched lawyer will call you if they are interested and want to represent you in your case. From there, you and your attorney will arrange the cost of their legal services and create a plan for how to tackle your issue.